The relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled. When one sees a painting, they will interpret it in their own way. We forget about the creator, the artist, who has his own interpretation too. Some people believe that explaining an artwork is personal because it draws attention to the audience. Some artists do not like to explain their artworks because it makes them feel immature. But it’s crucial for artists to consider the audience who might not have much knowledge of art. It is very vital to fit ordinary audience into the discussion of art because the way the audience sees an artwork is affected by what they know or what they believe in. General knowledge, on the other hand, might mislead an audience that is why it is important to educate our contemporary society about artworks.
Every artwork embodies a way of seeing. The way of interpreting or explaining a painting might be reconstituted by the marks made by an artist on the paper or canvas. Although artworks encompass meanings, our perception or appreciation of artworks depends also upon our own engagement with those artworks. Artworks are made to appear magical because a painting can outlast what it represents.
It also implicates how the subject has been seen by other people. The making of an artwork is categorised by the assumptions concerning beauty, truth, genius, civilization, form, status, taste, etc. The above assumptions are no longer being agreed upon in the world today because this era, call it postmodernism, allows artists to be open minded by not following the formal qualities of producing an artwork.
Furthermore, explaining an artwork is structured and built around an idea or set of related ideas or beliefs that provide a particular focus for explaining an artwork. Artworks have many meanings. Artists often produce works with specific meanings in mind though the audience can come up with their own. Artists communicate their ideas through visual language. One will also understand that history always constitutes the relationship between the present and the past reflected in an artwork, that is when and where the painting was made.
“Artworks are made to appear magical because a painting can outlast what it represents.”
In addition, when we see a landscape painting, we associate ourselves with it easily. The landscape may depict the season, whether it was painted in the dry or rainy season. If we see the art of the past, we give meaning related to history. When giving an explanation of a painting, the composition unity of the painting contributes fundamentally to the power of artwork. Terms, such as harmony, smoothness and romanticism, could be considered when giving an explanation of a work of art. There are other useful terms used for explaining artworks like, exploring, analyzing and understanding both the formal qualities of artworks by examining art elements, materials, techniques and style.
The physical characteristic of the artwork plays an important role in the appearance and meaning as well as the organization of elements and the relationship between them. One has to consider the distinctive way in which materials, techniques and elements are used together in an artwork. For example, elements, like colour, shape, line, tone, form and texture, could also be used to give a meaning. The above mentioned framework suggests some starting points for examining how art elements, such as composition, material, techniques and style, can be used to give a meaning to an artwork. However, we have to note that many contemporary artists create work that challenges traditional ideas about style. It is believed that a painting or sculpture should be original. Some artists borrow a style to further develop their ideas and expression. Others may rework on an existing style in order to critique the values or ideas associated with the style of certain artists and, still, there are artists who do work in a distinctive individual style. Some artists adopt different styles within their practice according to the idea they want to explore. Audiences also have to consider production context, i.e. art is a product of a particular time and place. When explaining an artwork one has to look at the historical, social, and cultural context in which it was made.